Don't Scapegoat Chuck Pagano and Other Bears Bullets

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Don’t Scapegoat Chuck Pagano and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

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•   The Bears have a press conference scheduled for 10 a.m. today, so this will be an abbreviated set of Bullets. Scheduled to speak are Chairman George McCaskey, President Ted Phillips, GM Ryan Pace, and Head Coach Matt Nagy. Between the expected return of Pace and Nagy, as well as Chuck Pagano’s “retirement” announcement, each should have plenty to say.

•   One of my favorite hot dog joints checks in with some thoughts:

•   I would not want to be Ryan Pace going into The Wieners Circle any time soon.

•   Some hard truths in this tweet:

•   This is a deep pull:

•   In my heart of hearts, I hope Pagano isn’t being used as a scapegoat here. My lean is that is exactly what is happening, but Pagano deserves better than that as a finish in Chicago. His defenses ranked among the top-10 in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric in each of the last two seasons. Sure, the turnovers and sack numbers took a dip after the 2018 season. And those groups never looked like the same ones Vic Fangio was orchestrating. But Pagano’s defenses weren’t the reason the Bears are 16-16 over the last two seasons. Disappointing? Sure. I’ll give you that. But I feel as if we’d look at Pagano’s defenses differently if the offense held up its end of the bargain more often than it did.

•   Hindsight being what it is, I can’t help but wonder if we (collectively) underestimated the departures of Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan. Those two key defenders left the Bears as free agents after the 2018 season. Amos has played well in Green Bay, while Callahan returned to form as a top slot corner after\ an injury plagued 2019. Tashaun Gipson Sr. and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix performed admirably next to Eddie Jackson. Meanwhile, Buster Skrine was alright as a nickel corner. But neither played at the level Amos or Callahan did in Chicago. Maybe there was some underlying value in the rapport Amos-Jackson built while playing years next to each other. Perhaps there was something about growing up in the system that made Callahan a fit.

•   Thinking about the cohesiveness that unit had makes me think the Bears are better off drafting a safety who can grow while playing alongside Jackson, rather than plug and hope for something to click on the chemistry side of things. As for slot corner, Chicago needs to upgrade that position. Otherwise, we’ll see teams that can put the likes of Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, and Michael Thomas in the slot continue to do so and create mismatches featuring all-world receivers against lesser corners.

•   Speaking of slot receivers, Patrick Finley (Sun-Times) reports a fine is more likely than a suspension for Anthony Miller after his conduct got him tossed from last Sunday’s playoff game. Despite being given warnings from the coaching staff not to fall for C.J. Gardner-Johnson’s shenanigans, Miller was goaded into punching CJGJ, which ultimately led to his removal from the game. Nothing like becoming the second teammate to be ejected from a game. And nothing like it happening when your team is short-handed at the position.

•   FWIW: Chicago could save an estimated $1.21 million (with a $493,400 dead-money hit) by cutting ties with Miller this offseason, per Just saying that’s an option for a cap-strapped team that might want to give a position group some fresh blood while also giving a player a new start elsewhere.

•   For your listening pleasure:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.